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PEFC Chair Receives Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Press release from the issuing company

Today PEFC Chair, William Street, received the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award for his efforts on behalf of IKEA's workers in Danville Virginia, USA. The award is bestowed by an independent NGO, American Rights at Work and recognises those who advance human rights for workers. Bill shares the award with Per-Olof Sjoo, President of the Swedish Union, GS.

“PEFC is honoured that our Chair has received this recognition.” commented PEFC Secretary General, Ben Gunneberg. “It comes as no surprise to us who work with Bill on a regular basis. During his term as PEFC Chair we have strengthened and clarified some of our fundamental core values pertaining to the social aspects of sustainable forest management. From the top down PEFC is today a leader in social standards thanks to Bill’s guidance. We have a Board that is gender and geographically balanced, with a broad range of representatives from indigenous people’s organisations, ENGOs, small family forest land-owners and of course, labour unions. I look forward to continuing to advance the notion that people are at the centre of sustainable forest management. I am also pleased to announcement that Bill is the sole nominee to complete another three year term as Chair of PEFC.”

“It is indeed an honour to be recognised for this work,” said William Street. “There are many commonalities between promoting human rights for workers and the work of PEFC. As a voluntary non-profit independent forest certification organisation dedicated to a bottom up approach, I have had the pleasure to watch our newest members like the Malaysia Timber Certification System embrace the fundamental ILO core labour standards and require them even when their national legislation does not. PEFC forest certification can be an important tool to advance human rights for those who live and depend on forests. I am proud of PEFC’s work in this area and expect it to continue to build the capacity of and help forest dependent families for decades to come. However it is the Swedwood workers who deserve the credit since they took the risks.”

American Rights At Work (www.americanrightsatwork.org/): Is an independent NGO dedicated to promoting human rights through advocacy and recognition of activities that promote free choice, freedom of association, and the right to bargain. They have issued the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award for 8 years. The Award honours the human rights work done by Eleanor Roosevelt throughout her life.

Eleanor Roosevelt: Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights that on December 8, 1948 led to the adoption by the UN of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 23 of the Declaration recognises that favourable conditions at work and protection against unemployment, equal pay for equal work, and a living wage are required for human dignity and are fundamental human rights. It also specifically cites the right to join trade unions as necessary for human rights.

William Street
William Street is Chair of PEFC (www.pefc.org) , the world’s largest forest certification system located in Geneva Switzerland. Bill is also the Chief of Staff of the Woodworkers Department of the Machinists Union – IAMAW (www.goiam.org ). Prior to this, he was Director of the Global Wood and Forestry Program for Builders and Woodworkers International (www.bwint.org), the global union federation in Geneva, Switzerland responsible for construction, wood, and forestry unions.

Mr. Street has a Master’s of Science Degree from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts from Mansfield State University in Pennsylvania.

As a lifelong advocate for social justice, Bill has been involved in the civil rights struggle and the anti-war movement in the US as well as advocating for public employees as a labour market economist member of SEIU Local 503 and as Director of Research for the International Woodworkers of America. He has also written on the subjects of poverty and forestry.

Bill is married to Bridget Downey and has two sons, Samuel and Matthew Street. He was raised in Perkasie, PA and now resides in Milwaukie, OR. USA.


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